Since the release of Xbox Game Pass for PC in June of 2019, I’ve spent maybe $20 in total for the service. Between the numerous promotions and some simple tasks, it has been relatively easy to keep the service going without having it be a monthly drain on my wallet. With the price of gaming steadily increasing, services like Game Pass have become more appealing. However, it’s not free, and the $10-$15 monthly fee can add up. Here’s how I’ve avoided shelling out cash for access to these dozens of games.
Get Started Cheap
Like any salesperson or drug pusher, Microsoft wants to get you started cheap. There are always promotional deals to get your first month free or for $1. Previously, there was an option to get three months for $1, though the time for that may have passed. I’ve even seen promotions on Cheez-It crackers for a free month. Most of these are for new customers, so they may not help you much if you’ve already started, but there’s always the option of making new accounts. I’m sure that’s against their terms of service, but considering how long they’ve left open a huge loophole in their process, I doubt they’re policing it too vigorously.
Microsoft Rewards is a program that has been around for quite some time now. It’s a free service that allows you to earn points by doing basic tasks in your browser like simple trivia and searching with Bing. You can redeem these points for various gift cards and sweepstakes, but also Xbox Live Memberships, Xbox gift cards, and in my case, months of Game Pass. I usually pop over to the site each morning for a few minutes to complete these tasks while checking my e-mail and stockpile a few hundred points a day. I’m not quite diligent enough to fully fund my Game Pass in this way, but it’s the most significant contributor with the least effort.
The Alienware Arena has also been around for several years, but I only recently discovered how it can contribute. They have always had giveaways for games and that has been reason enough to have an account.
However, I also found that within their ranking system, you can get Dell Rewards money. If you rank up through 25 by doing more simple daily tasks or participating in the forums, you can get a total of $150 in Rewards this way. You can toss those rewards at some overpriced Dell hardware, or in my case, buy digital Xbox gift cards you can use for games or Game Pass. This process is a bit slower than Microsoft Rewards, but it does have the added benefit of ranking up for Alienware game giveaways. Recently they gave away System Shock Enhanced Edition, Street Fighter V, and various other games and in-game items.
Any way you can get Xbox gift cards is a way to get more Game Pass. Retail outlets of all sorts will sell gift cards at a discount from time to time. Notably places like Newegg and sometimes Best Buy will offer modest discounts. That may seem obvious, but the thing to look for is Microsoft’s desire to get people on their platform and using their store.
They’ve been very liberal with ways to get money on their storefront. The value proposition of the service is already high and has paid for itself with day one releases of several games, and that’s before the Bethesda acquisition launched 20 more on the service. With the potential for so many additional expensive games going forward, I’ll definitely be keeping this going and saving money at both ends of the process.